John's giving back - great idea

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John Loftis

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Thanks, Dave. :)

A couple other notes to the KKF community (long overdue)--

2019 was a wonderful year for us. The America's Test Kitchen and Serious Eats reviews, in particular, got the word out about our business to a broader audience. The most obvious manifestation of that is that prior to March, 2019, my customer base was 90% male. After March, it skewed to 50/50. The attention we got is really due to KKF. Your support of our little business over the years is something the broader 'foodie' world has noticed. With this growth, I got to invest in some new machinery (replacement table saw and a CNC) and also hired a second full timer and a part timer to help me in the shop.

When COVID hit the U.S., I was down in South Texas with my family for Spring Break. It was like a switch flipped in our business. We went from 5-10 orders a day to maybe 1. So I'm down there with my wife and kids and I've got a painted-on smile, while filled with existential dread. When we got back, we got caught up on shipping orders, created a decent inventory of butcher block, and then listened to the crickets chirping. We started working on my master closet as a 'make work' project. My number one priority right now is keeping my people employed (safely). I haven't laid off anyone, and am fighting hard not to so. I saw on the news that something like 700k filed for unemployment in the last week or two in North Texas, and nobody is getting processed or their benefits right now. The governmental bureaucracy just isn't set up to deal with the influx of people. So we've been trying to hang on financially until the SBA loans arrive (PPP and EIDL, for those paying attention to these things). My guess is it will be a couple months. I think we were around the 120,000 business in the queue with our bank for the PPP loan (this was on day 2 of the program initiation)... so who knows when we'll be processed.

We had a nice batch of orders come in over the last 3-4 days, which was a breath of fresh air. Working on my closet keeps us busy, but it doesn't bring in any revenue. I'll use the proceeds from those orders to invest in walnut lumber, which is hella expensive wood.

The charity effort is my best attempt to attack my own inner panic head-on. It's a recognition that this too shall pass, albeit through gritted teeth. And it's a way to help out the restaurant workers who have it SO much worse than I do right now.

So... that's where we are. We're still open, still making butcher block. Our schedule is wonky right now, staging work so we give each other safe space. With 3 workers in a 1,500 sqft shop, we can sort of stay in our zones most of the time. Small business ownership, more than anything else, is about stubbornness and resiliency. I'm plenty stubborn but not nearly resilient enough. That deficient aspect of my character is getting some much-needed practice right now.

Oh... I have like 15 maple 12 X 18 'seconds' that are ready to go. I just need to photograph them and upload them to the website. I also have around 20 larger seconds that are in the 'finish sanding' stage. If you've been wanting a manufacturer's second, now is a good time.

And if you've been thinking about buying a nice butcher block, we would dearly love to make you one. :)
 

WildBoar

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Hopefully with so many people staying at home they will start doing more and more online shopping. Right now people are very apprehensive, but those with stable jobs will gradually start rewarding themselves for persevering. Your boards straddle the line between luxury goods and necessities. Lots more people (in the US at least) are having to cook at home, which means more and more people will realize they need better kitchen equipment.

Keep up/ increase your social media presence so you stay in view of the general public, and hopefully you will see a ramp up in sales soon.

You are doing great things right now, and it will not go unrewarded.
 

esoo

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I will have to say that I have looked at Boardsmith stuff for a *long, long* time. Many times I've wanted to pull the trigger but USD > CAD exchange plus shipping makes them a very expensive proposition for me.

I've got a 18x22 board beside my stove that needs replacing. Will have to keep an eye on this to see if I can swing it now. As a still employed IT guy, I'm trying to do my part in keeping places alive.
 

John Loftis

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I will have to say that I have looked at Boardsmith stuff for a *long, long* time. Many times I've wanted to pull the trigger but USD > CAD exchange plus shipping makes them a very expensive proposition for me.

I've got a 18x22 board beside my stove that needs replacing. Will have to keep an eye on this to see if I can swing it now. As a still employed IT guy, I'm trying to do my part in keeping places alive.
I hear you! The exchange rate and shipping costs and exchange rate are really tough for my Canadian customers. If there's a particular size/wood species, I can see if I have a nice second I could discount for you.
 

John Loftis

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Hopefully with so many people staying at home they will start doing more and more online shopping. Right now people are very apprehensive, but those with stable jobs will gradually start rewarding themselves for persevering. Your boards straddle the line between luxury goods and necessities. Lots more people (in the US at least) are having to cook at home, which means more and more people will realize they need better kitchen equipment.

Keep up/ increase your social media presence so you stay in view of the general public, and hopefully you will see a ramp up in sales soon.

You are doing great things right now, and it will not go unrewarded.
Thanks for the encouragement!
 

bahamaroot

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In trying times like these it's always nice to see these charitable gestures regardless of how large or small. As you mentioned, it just helps to take your mind off of the hardships if only for a minute, put a smile on your face and realise we will get through this. Thanks for all you are doing John and I LOVE MY BoardSmith BOARD!
 
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